I’ve got DragonQuest in 1st and 2nd editions (SPI: 1980, 1981) in the shop at the moment; great time for some photos.

Legacy game companies in the early 80s were trying to “catch the wave” of D&D popularity with their own FRPG releases.

See Avalon Hill’s Fantasy Role Playing Game:

POWERS & PERILS: An Old School not-D&D RPG (1983)

I’m no expert on DQ, so I’ll point you a couple of blogs for a better idea of gameplay.

“DragonQuest used percentile dice for all its mechanics. Character creation was a mix of random generation and player choice, since the game lacked classes and used skills instead. Races were mostly standard fantasy one — human, dwarf, elf, halfling, etc. — with orcs and lycanthropes for variety. Characters could begin play under the influence of certain stars or planets, granting special bonuses or penalties, an idea I’d previously seen in Chivalry & Sorcery. Combat was astoundingly complex and pretty much demanded the use of miniatures, since it used a hex grid and facing was very important.” –Grognardia: Dragonquest Retrospective

“Certainly, something was possessing SPI around the turn of the 80’s. They had a boardgame about the demons from the Lesser Key of Solomon, and worked some of those names into their Citadel of Blood adventure game. And yes, there’s a whole school of DQ demon summoning that ramps up to 16 pages of fully powered Goetic infernal royalty.” –Roles, Rules, & Rolls: The Awesome Pain in the Ass That Was DragonQuest

Dragonquest, 1st edition (1980)

DQ 1st box lid detail

Dragonquest RPG items for sale in the shop

Check eBay

For the full DragonQuest product list, please visit my RPG reference site. 

Book 1: Character Generation & Combat
Book 2: Magic
Book 3: Skills, Monsters, Adventure
“Tactical display” or otherwise known as a play map
DQ 1st counters
Some accessories for 1st edition, sold separately. Gamemaster’s Screen (1st ed), Blade of Allectus, and Palace of Ontoncle.

Dragonquest, 2nd edition (1981)

Dragonquest 2nd box set b
2nd edition set has all 3 earlier books bound into a perfect paperback, plus an adventure, “The Camp of Alla-Akabar” in the back of the book. A GM Screen was added to the box set, as well as “The Blade of Allectus” adventure.
Biggest change in the 2nd edition was combat. Action Point system was discarded for Tactical Movement Rate.
Soo…. Why the big box for Second Edition?  Dice.  The counters and play map were jettisoned. Dice wouldn’t fit in the low-profile box.

DQ 2nd box open

The three 1st ed books were literally incorporated into the 2nd ed paperback, covers and all.


1st and 2nd edition Combat chapters


DQ 2nd contents
DQ 2nd edition Contents
DQ 1st and 2nd ed GM Screens
DQ 1st and 2nd ed GM Screens. Very little difference on the front panel, but note “2nd Edition Compatible” on screen at right.

For the full DragonQuest product list, please visit my RPG reference site. 

Dragonquest RPG items for sale in the shop

See also: DragonQuest Fan Page by Snafaru – Lots of resources, including the “lost” Fourth DQ Book: Arcane Wisdom.

John Carter: Warlord of Mars adventure game (SPI, 1979)

Sauron Exclusive Rules: From the Games of Middle Earth (SPI, 1977)

Thieves’ World as a Rosetta Stone of early RPGs